The student government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has dealt a final blow to the College Republicans’ budgetary plans, effectively barring the group from bringing two well-known conservative women to campus — and insulting those women in the process.
Last week, the student government finance committee slashed the College Republicans’ funding allocation from $8,000 to $3,000. The cut meant that students would not be able to bring conservative speakers Katie Pavlich and Ann McElhinny to campus, so they appealed the decision to the full Student Congress.
College Republican chairman Peter McClelland argued that the funding was important in order to maintain a semblance of intellectual diversity on the liberal campus. UNC Students have few chances to be exposed to conservative speakers and ideas, he said. Besides, at least two liberal organizations — a socialist club and a feminist magazine — received more funding than the College Republicans. (RELATED: University guts budget for College Republicans, gives extra cash to feminist group)
But the Student Congress was unmoved by these arguments, and voted 21-1 to allocate only $3,000 to the club earlier this week.
During the debate over the issue, several student government leaders insulted Pavlich and McElhinny, whom they deemed “non-intellectual,” “non-academic” and “unreliable.”
McElhinny is a well-known environmental reporter and investigative journalist who has received accolades for her documentary, “Frack Nation.”
Pavlich is a Fox News contributor and author of The New York Times bestseller, “Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up.”
But these credentials did not impress the UNC Student Congress.
“My concern why I supported removing this is that the educational value — [McElhinny's] work has been called… ‘unreliable as a Wikipedia page,’” said Austin Root, vice-chairman of the finance committee, as reported by The College Fix.
“We’re talking about $5,000 for a lady who made a movie, and $3,000 for a contributor to Fox News,” said Harrison Touby, a student representative. “That is a lot of money for two non-academic speakers to come to an academic university to speak.”
One student government member defended the two women, pointing out that an extra $5,000 would hardly break the UNC bank; the Student Congress has $90,000 in reserve funds.
“These are well-known speakers in the conservative community and I don’t think this is a large amount to pay for speakers that would bring a lot of interest,” said Brittany Best, chairperson of the finance committee.
Despite promising that the events would draw over 100 students, College Republicans were denied their request for additional funds–and are now unsure of how to make up the difference.
Funding for student groups is allocated by the student government based on the value of the group or event. Mandatory student fees constitute the funding source.